Media Club of
Canadian Women's Press Club
Club of Ottawa presents monthly
programs of significance
professionals in all branches of the
program offers a stimulating variety of speakers.
- speaker Qais-Ghanem -
Eghawaby - speaker
Dani-Elle Dube - award
Bruce-MacGregor - speaker
||-------Year in review
program has been switched to
of articles by our scheduled speakers on their topic
April 20, 2021
The Zoom Virtual Readers Theater group of the First African Methodist
Episcopal (FAME) church, in Los Angeles presented
a reading of Ainalem
Tebeje’s book, A Love Story In Broken English, on July 9,
2020. If you missed it you can watch the presentation on the
church’s link - www.famechurchla.org
Ainalem spoke to the Media Club about her book in October 2018 shortly
after it was published. You can read a report about her talk on the
Media Club website www.mediaclubofottawa.ca
In addition to her regular freelance writing assignments Susan Korah
participated in a project aimed at helping spread the word about
important health information to some of the world’s most
vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic. In conjunction with her
friend, Swedish journalist Nuri Kino who initiated the project, Susan
helped produce a u-tube video designed for the benefit of refugees,
migrant workers and other marginalized people who haven’t
mastered the language of their country of residence and therefore have
limited or no access to important health information during the
COVID-19 crisis. The video has also been shared with associations,
government departments and individuals working with new Canadians.
An article about Susan Korah's project appeared in the June
issue of Sandy Hill’s community paper, A similar one,
highlighting opera singer Maria Knapik, featured in the video,
was printed in the September issue of , Vistas, the Alta Vistas’ community
paper. Both articles were by June Coxon
Our out-of-town club member Dawn Monroe. sent us the sad news that Katherine Allen
has died. Kate was a club member for many years while living in Ottawa
and after moving to Toronto. Dawn says she learned the news
from Kate’s daughter, Heather, who said her mother had been
ill for a couple of years with PSP, a rare brain disorder that can rob
a person of speech. A recent Ottawa Citizen obituary said there will be
a celebration of life for Kate once everyone can meet together again.
Kate was an artist, columnist and the author of four books. She
illustrated a number of notecards featuring some of the women on Dawn Monroe’s Famous Canadian Women website.
Dawn now has well over 3,000 mini biographies on her Famous
Canadian website. She was scheduled to speak to club members in June 2020 about
creating that website, but was unable to do so because of
COVID-19 restrictions. Instead, she wrote about it for us. You wil be able read
her report in the near future.
Qais, who was to speak to our group in April, was featured in a column in the
June 2020 issue of community newspaper Vistas. The two-page column Our People by
Courtney Tower appeared on pages 11 and 12. If you
missed it you may find it online at www.vistas.ca.
this news is old now
CUBE Gallery, owned and operated by Don Monet and Becky Rynor, closed
May 12, 2019, after nearly 15 years of operation. It first opened on
Hamilton Avenue in 2005 before moving to the Wellington Street
location. Numerous events and exhibits featuring local artists,
including a retrospective featuring club member Shirley Van
in 2017, were held there. Don and Becky were both Media Club members
for a number of years and Becky was club president in the 1990s.
Local freelance writer, radio host, and poet. Jagjeet
Sharma, published her
third book of poetry this year, called Raindrops. As with her other
books, proceeds from sales of this book go to the University of
Ottawa’s Heart Institute.
The Media Club of Ottawa has co-produced an anthology about the pandemic with the Ottawa
Ethnic Media Forum. The book contains articles, stories and poems
written primarily by local authors. It was published at
the end of November 2020.
held in previous years:
highlighted links below will show a list of
speakers for the year
Matt Wood speaks to
us, virtually, in writing
| By Matt Wood
Wood received a Margaret Graham Award from our club in 2003, when he
was a journalism student at Algonquin College. He now works as
Communications and Media Relations Manager at the University of
Northern British Columbia.
was in my early 30s, having transitioned away from my dream
of becoming a musician and towards a lifelong goal of being a reporter,
specifically a sports writer. I had just graduated from Algonquin
College’s outstanding journalism program and was seeking
employment. Fortunately, due in part to the Media Club’s
recognition of my academic successes, I landed a job at the Ottawa Sun.
it was different back then. A 6 p.m. deadline, no social media
considerations, no need to “live tweet” from an
scene or the court house. Heck, I only had a “pay
go” cell phone for absolute emergencies. But the thrill of
job was very real. In my time I broke a couple of big stories (the
provincial government forgiving the costs of road infrastructure to the
new hockey rink in Kanata was one of my best I think). I also wrote
some fun columns. I remember interviewing a New York fashion designer
about the awful uniforms of the New York Islanders when the Senators
were facing them in the playoffs. I got the New Yorker to admit that
our fashion sense in Canada’s capital at least when it came
hockey was much stronger than the Big Apple.
there was no permanent job available at the Sun and when my wife
and I found out we were expecting our first child we decided to move
back to the hometown of our youth - Quesnel, British Columbia. My
wife’s parents lived there, and a sports reporter’s
just opened up at the local newspaper, The Observer ( a paper
delivered as a young boy) so it was a natural fit. In my first few
months I excelled, pouring everything into my job. I won sports writing
and photography awards, contributed a complete reimagining of local
sports coverage, and helped the newspaper’s production team
transition to a new-fangled digital layout tool (yes they were still
actually “cutting and pasting” for the press!) and
publisher asked me to take on a new role.
was when the value of relationship building began to hit home to me. I
had always treated sources well and valued the back and forth
relationship between a reporter and his “sources close to the
minister,” but being the editor of a small town newspaper is a
lesson in diplomacy, tact, patience and above all, relationships. Over
the next two years we transformed the paper. We won awards, modernized
the approach and developed the standard for the website publishing etc.
We solidified the newspaper’s reputation as the local source for
early 2005, the City Manager for Quesnel approached me at an
event and said he was considering creating a
“public relations” position at the city and asked
if that was something
that would be interesting. I told him there were likely several
candidates in the City who would be interested and do good work. After
a very thorough recruitment process, I was tapped for the job and
started in the summer of 2005.
in Public Relations has
a LOT of similarities with reporting. We tell stories, we shape
opinion, we inform people, but above all else, we value friendships.
early at the City, I was approached by a couple of colleagues in Prince
George, who were members of CPRS*. “What’s
that?” I asked, so they invited me to a meeting. Turns out it was
the AGM. You know AGMs aren’t necessarily the most riveting
occasions, but it was here that I first formed two friendships that
have lasted more than 15 years now. And those friendships led to more
contacts and I was afforded the ability to learn about my new job, my
responsibilities from colleagues and friends. Some eight years went by
at the City - we won awards, passed successful referenda, persevered
through multiple election seasons (pay attention to local government
folks - they’re important!). And throughout that time I continued
to curate relationships and grow bonds with people that have lasted
of those early friendships I formed in Prince George was a person who
worked for the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). He was
the head of External Relations and a brilliant mind when it comes to
communications, promotions, government relations, and more. My wife and
I would often joke that Quesnel was as far north as we would ever want
to live (we aren’t “winter people”) but I always kept
in my mind that if anything ever opened up at UNBC, l would be
interested - it’s only 120km farther north.
I landed the job of Communications and
Relations Manager for one of Canada’s
best small universities. I
was over the moon. I had learned a lot about relationships in my years
as a reporter and now in public relations, and was pretty
about entering a new sector. Fortunately, thanks to my time in Quesnel,
I already had some pretty established relationships with the regional
media, so that element of the job was pretty straight-forward and
thanks to my colleagues at CPRS*, I knew one of my new co-workers well,
which made the transition into the office much easier.
there, I began meeting people in the University Community, from
faculty members to students, alumni to staff, and I came to quickly
understand that this was a community that can only be navigated one way
- by forming effective relationships based on mutual understanding and
respect. Largely that is what I have focused on over the past eight
years, along with building and strengthening an outstanding team in the
communications and marketing office.
be clear, it has not been easy. We have had some turbulent times,
from strikes to budget cuts, layoffs to leadership changes, but all
that comes with the territory. Throughout that time though, no matter
how contentious an issue, I have relied on my ability to value
relationships, foster dialogue, and ethics. I am not a “spin
doctor” or looking to”get out in front of
Rather, I am engaged in the profession of public relations, the
“strategic management of relationships between an
and its diverse public through the use of communication, to
achieve mutual understanding, realize organizational goals and serve
the public interest.”
Gregory And Valen, 2008)
relations has so enthralled me professionally that I have taken
on several volunteer positions with CPRS. I started by working with the
Northern Light Society, based in northern British Columbia, as their
membership chair. That position reaches out to prospective members and
works with current members too.
what - relationships! I eventually became president of the
chapter and served for more than 10 years on the executive. I
have since turned my sights to national affairs and currently sit on
the CPRS National Board of Governors. It is an honour to be part of
such a progressive association.
I am sure you will see the theme in my writing here, that relationships
have been key to my successes along the way since being a young
reporter. At every step of the way they have influenced my decisions,
helped me achieve great things and provided a wide range of options and
viewpoints that have helped shape my understanding of the world today.
Whether talking about such diverse topics as racism, land rights, the
economy, arts, sports or the greatest movie of all time (it’s
original Star Wars and the discussion is now closed) relationships have
allowed me to learn, to change my mind, and to become a better husband,
father and person.
my early grounding in media, and the encouragement I received
from organizations such as the Media Club of Ottawa, I would not be who
I am today, and I am eternally grateful. I also want to give a special
shout-out to June Coxon - June clearly understands relationship
building. She even came to visit me on campus when her travels brought
her to Prince George - Amazing!
trust that some of this will resonate - I think those of us working
in the ever-shifting media/media relations landscape face challenges
like never before. Our attention spans are dwindling thanks to the
never ending “push” of digital content. Demands
employers have grown, and the need to “feed the
grows and grows. The onslaught of new digital storytelling techniques,
tactics and strategies is exceptionally challenging to keep up with.
throughout it all, one thing remains constant, that will serve us
all well in a rapidly evolving world. Say it with me folks:
No that’s not it.
Public Relations Society
Club of Ottawa
Bednarek Van Eyk
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